On Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor Phil Scott issued Addendum 12 to the Executive Order
declaring a state of emergency in Vermont due to COVID-19. Addendum 12 incorporates expanded
guidance (Click here to view Addendum 12).
from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (“ACCD”), issued in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health (“VDH”) and the Department of Public Safety/Vermont Emergency
Addendum 12 builds on Addenda 10 and 11 by announcing “phase 3” of Governor Scott’s plan to reopen Vermont’s economy. It also amends several mandatory health and safety requirements previously established in Addenda 10 and 11, and expands the mandatory training and reporting requirements first
discussed in Addendum 11. State inspectors will ensure businesses have the information needed to
comply with the health and safety requirements required by Addendum 12.
Phase 3: Continuing the Phased-Reopening of Vermont’s Economy
The business practices authorized in Phases 1 and 2 remain acceptable during “Phase 3.” Beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, unless otherwise stated below, the following business practices will become permissible, so long as mandatory health and safety, training, and reporting requirements are observed.
- Outdoor businesses: Those who work exclusively or largely outdoors (such as civil engineers, site work, exterior construction, skilled trade, public works, energy and utility work, mining, forestry, environmental monitoring, landscaping, painting, tree work, park maintenance, recreational maintenance, and delivery work) may operate with crews of 10 or fewer persons per location/job.
- Interior residential construction: May occur in uninhabited structures with 10 or fewer workers in any one location, so long as (i) they are “low density”; and (ii) ensure employees remain 6 feet apart whenever possible. “Location” is defined as any address, regardless of partitions, separation of workspace, or different function. However, starting on May 11, 2020, construction operations may resume with as few employees as necessary to permit full operations while continuing to maintain health and safety, as discussed in more detail below.
- Interior commercial construction: Indoor construction may occur in “discrete, isolated sections of buildings” and unoccupied structures with 10 or fewer workers. Employers must provide “designated entrances and sanity (hand washing and bathroom) facilities.” However, starting on May 11, 2020, construction operations may resume with as few employees as necessary to permit full operations while continuing to maintain health and safety, as discussed in more detail below.
- Exterior construction: May operate with crews of 10 or fewer persons per location/job site. However, starting on May 11, 2020, construction operations may resume with as few employees as necessary to permit full operations while continuing to maintain health and safety, as discussed in more detail below.
- Manufacturing and distribution: Manufacturing and distribution operations may resume if (i) they are low-density; (ii) there are 10 or fewer employees per location; and (iii) employees are able to maintain six feet apart at all times. “Location” is defined as any address, regardless of partitions, separation of workspace, or different function. However, starting on May 11, 2020, manufacturing and distribution operations may resume with as few employees as necessary to permit full operations while continuing to maintain health and safety, as discussed in more detail below.
- Supporting operations: May continue with the minimum number or workers necessary to support curbside pick-up and delivery services.
Employees who reside in another State and work in Vermont may travel to Vermont for work provided that: (1) their employer adopts the mandatory health and safety requirements described in Addenda 10, 11 and 12, and the related ACCD guidance; (2) the employer trains all employees in accordance with Addendum 12 and related ACCD guidance; (3) the employer complies with other limitations on the number of workers/type of work that can be done, as outlined in Addenda 10, 11 and 12, and the related ACCD guidance; and (4) the employees commute directly to and from work each day. Out-of-state construction crews and property management/landscaping crews are not included in this revised guidance. Those employees must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Vermont.
To the extent possible, businesses must continue to support work from home and telecommuting. Businesses are encouraged to continue strategies, procedures, and practices to maximize their telephone and online presence, telephone and web-based service delivery, orders, and curbside pick-up and delivery.
Amended Mandatory Health and Safety Requirements
All businesses must follow VDH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines. Beginning Friday, May 1, 2020, businesses operating during the state of emergency must:
- Designate an on-site health officer for each shift. The health officer is responsible for ensuring compliance with Executive Order 01-20, the addenda to that Order, and the ACCD guidance. The health officer must have the authority to stop and modify activities to ensure such compliance.
- Provide and document that all employees complete mandatory training on health and safety requirements provided by Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“VOSHA”), or as otherwise required by Addenda 12 and related ACCD guidance. This requirement is discussed in greater detail below. It does not apply to healthcare workers, first responders, or others already trained in infection control, personal protection, and universal precautions.
- Pre-screen and survey each employee prior to each shift by checking their temperature and determining whether they have symptoms of respiratory illness (e., fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath). Employers are required to immediately order, and use their best efforts to obtain non-contact thermometers to conduct temperature checks.
- Prevent an employee from attending work if they have come into contact with a COVID-positive employee or other person. The employee must quarantine for 14 days.
- Post signs at every entrance clearly indicating that no person may enter if they have symptoms of respiratory illness (e., fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath).
- Provide good air circulation to any indoor workspace where three or more employees are working. The ACCD recommends opening doors and windows to increase air flow, and limiting the number of people occupying a single indoor space.
- Limit occupancy of common areas, such as break rooms and cafeterias, so that all employees remain at least 6 feet apart. Employers must also require employees to wipe down a common area after use, or ensure cleaning of common areas at “regular intervals throughout the day.”
- Regularly clean and disinfect all workplace common spaces and equipment (including bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces, doors, tools, other equipment, and vehicles), and, when possible, prior to transfer from one person to another.
- Prevent employees from reporting to work or remaining at work if they are sick or symptomatic (e., with fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath).
- Require that employees remain at least 6 feet apart from others while on the job. To the extent possible, businesses are required to ensure that all on-site customers remain at least 6 feet apart from others.
- Require that employees wear non-medical cloth face-coverings over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others. Retail cashiers may forego a cloth face-covering in lieu of a translucent shield or “sneeze guard.” Businesses may require customers or clients to wear face masks.
- Provide employees with easy and frequent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer during the duration of work. Provide access to hand washing and/or hand sanitizer for vendors and customers, to the extent possible.
- Require employees to wash or sanitize their hands before entering and leaving the job site.
- Prevent 3 or more people from occupy any one vehicle when conducting work.
- Discourage “to the maximum extent possible” use of shared workspaces, desks, offices, etc.
- Limit face-to-face staff meetings and limit staff travel between multiple work sites.
- Consider staggering work shifts and break times, as well as expanding hours to reduce the number of individuals working together and to reduce contact with the public.
- Ensure a safe process to receive supplies and deliveries.
- Consider accommodations for employees at higher risk from COVID-19 to work remotely or minimize public interaction.
Enhanced Mandatory Training and Reporting Requirements
- VOSHA Training and Reporting Requirements
By Monday, May 4, 2020, all employers must provide and document employee training on standard operating procedures developed by VOSHA in consultation with VDH. Employers also must provide employees with a printed copy of those standards. Employees and/or employers who require translated versions of the training and reporting materials shall have an additional week from the date of release of the translation to complete and document the training.
- Employer-Specific Health and Safety Training Plan
All businesses with 10 or more employees at any one office or site, and that suspended operations for 7 or more days under the Stay Home/Stay Safe Order, “shall have on file a health and safety training plan prior to reopening.” An ACCD template for that plan is available online. Employers must make their finished plan available to VOSHA and employees upon request.
Employers with 9 or fewer employees at any one office or site “may elect to implement the VOSHA training” rather than creating and implementing an enhanced health and safety training plan. Those smaller employers must nonetheless comply with all other health and safety guidelines addressed in addenda 10, 11, 12, and the ACCD guidance.
Because the VOSHA training materials merely establish minimum standards that will not be sufficient for all businesses, businesses shall adopt a training program prior to reopening that includes additional customized policies and procedures that incorporate at least the following:
- Adopting a phased-approach to reopening by initially using “a low density and low contact environment before making incremental changes needed to accommodate more moderate density activity while continuing to maintain health and safety.”
- Updating physical and administrative safety systems to incorporate VDH, CDC, and VOSHA guidelines; and to accommodate health monitoring, including temperature checks, cleaning, sanitizing, and social distancing measures.
- Taking appropriate steps to protect employees at greater risk of contact due to their duties or their job setting.
Please contact Heather Hammond (firstname.lastname@example.org) at
Gravel & Shea PC if you have questions or would like assistance.